Part 1 out of 6
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Four years at Wellesley; two years about equally divided among
Paris, Dresden and Florence. And now Jane Hastings was at home
again. At home in the unchanged house--spacious,
old-fashioned--looking down from its steeply sloping lawns and
terraced gardens upon the sooty, smoky activities of Remsen City,
looking out upon a charming panorama of hills and valleys in the
heart of South Central Indiana. Six years of striving in the
East and abroad to satisfy the restless energy she inherited from
her father; and here she was, as restless as ever--yet with
everything done that a woman could do in the way of an active
career. She looked back upon her years of elaborate preparation;
she looked forward upon--nothing. That is, nothing but
marriage--dropping her name, dropping her personality,
disappearing in the personality of another. She had never seen a
man for whom she would make such a sacrifice; she did not believe
that such a man existed.
She meditated bitterly upon that cruel arrangement of Nature's
whereby the father transmits his vigorous qualities in twofold
measure to the daughter, not in order that she may be a somebody,
but solely in order that she may transmit them to sons. ``I
don't believe it,'' she decided. ``There's something for ME to
do.'' But what? She gazed down at Remsen City, connected by
factories and pierced from east, west and south by railways. She
gazed out over the fields and woods. Yes, there must be
something for her besides merely marrying and breeding--just as
much for her as for a man. But what? If she should marry a man
who would let her rule him, she would despise him. If she should
marry a man she could respect--a man who was of the master class
like her father--how she would hate him for ignoring her and
putting her in her ordained inferior feminine place. She glanced
down at her skirts with an angry sense of enforced masquerade.
And then she laughed --for she had a keen sense of humor that
always came to her rescue when she was in danger of taking
herself too seriously.
Through the foliage between her and the last of the stretches of
highroad winding up from Remsen City she spied a man climbing in
her direction--a long, slim figure in cap, Norfolk jacket and
knickerbockers. Instantly--and long before he saw her--there was
a grotesque whisking out of sight of the serious personality upon
which we have been intruding. In its stead there stood ready to
receive the young man a woman of the type that possesses physical
charm and knows how to use it--and does not scruple to use it.
For a woman to conquer man by physical charm is far and away the
easiest, the most fleeting and the emptiest of victories. But
for woman thus to conquer without herself yielding anything
whatsoever, even so little as an alluring glance of the eye--that
is quite another matter. It was this sort of conquest that Jane
Hastings delighted in--and sought to gain with any man who came
within range. If the men had known what she was about, they
would have denounced her conduct as contemptible and herself as
immoral, even brazen. But in their innocence they accused only
their sophisticated and superbly masculine selves and regarded
her as the soul of innocence. This was the more absurd in them
because she obviously excelled in the feminine art of inviting
display of charm. To glance at her was to realize at once the
beauty of her figure, the exceeding grace of her long back and
waist. A keen observer would have seen the mockery lurking in
her light-brown eyes, and about the corners of her full red lips.
She arranged her thick dark hair to make a secret, half- revealed
charm of her fascinating pink ears and to reveal in dazzling
unexpectedness the soft, round whiteness of the nape of her neck.
Because you are thus let into Miss Hastings' naughty secret, so
well veiled behind an air of earnest and almost cold dignity, you
must not do her the injustice of thinking her unusually artful.
Such artfulness is common enough; it secures husbands by the
thousand and by the tens of thousands. No, only in the skill of
artfulness was Miss Hastings unusual.
As the long strides of the tall, slender man brought him rapidly
nearer, his face came into plain view. A refined, handsome face,
dark and serious. He had dark-brown eyes--and Miss Hastings did
not like brown eyes in a man. She thought that men should have
gray or blue or greenish eyes, and if they were cruel in their
love of power she liked it the better.
``Hello, Dave,'' she cried in a pleasant, friendly voice. She
was posed--in the most unconscious of attitudes-- upon a rustic
bench so that her extraordinary figure was revealed at its most
The young man halted before her, his breath coming quickly--not
altogether from the exertion of his steep and rapid climb.
``Jen, I'm mad about you,'' he said, his brown eyes soft and
luminous with passion. ``I've done nothing but think about you
in the week you've been back. I didn't sleep last night, and
I've come up here as early as I dared to tell you--to ask you to
He did not see the triumph she felt, the joy in having subdued
another of these insolently superior males. Her eyes were
discreetly veiled; her delightful mouth was arranged to express
``I thought I was an ambition incarnate,'' continued the young
man, unwittingly adding to her delight by detailing how brilliant
her conquest was. ``I've never cared a rap about women--until I
saw you. I was all for politics--for trying to do something to
make my fellow men the better for my having lived. Now--it's all
gone. I want you, Jen. Nothing else matters.''
As he paused, gazing at her in speechless longing, she lifted her
eyes--simply a glance. With a stifled cry he darted forward,
dropped beside her on the bench and tried to enfold her in his
arms. The veins stood out in his forehead; the expression of his
eyes was terrifying.
She shrank, sprang up. His baffled hands had not even touched
her. ``David Hull!'' she cried, and the indignation and the
repulsion in her tone and in her manner were not simulated,
though her artfulness hastened to make real use of them. She
loved to rouse men to frenzy. She knew that the sight of their
frenzy would chill her--would fill her with an emotion that would
enable her to remain mistress of the situation.
At sight of her aversion his eyes sank. ``Forgive me,'' he
muttered. ``You make me--CRAZY.''
``I!'' she cried, laughing in angry derision. ``What have I ever
done to encourage you to be--impertinent?''
``Nothing,'' he admitted. ``That is, nothing but just being
``I can't help that, can I?''
``No,'' said he, adding doggedly: ``But neither can men help
going crazy about you.''
She looked at him sitting there at once penitent and impenitent;
and her mind went back to the thoughts that had engaged it before
he came into view. Marriage-- to marry one of these men, with
their coarse physical ideas of women, with their pitiful weakness
before an emotion that seemed to her to have no charm whatever.
And these were the creatures who ruled the world and compelled
women to be their playthings and mere appendages! Well--no doubt
it was the women's own fault, for were they not a poor,
spiritless lot, trembling with fright lest they should not find a
man to lean on and then, having found the man, settling down into
fat and stupid vacuity or playing the cat at the silly game of
social position? But not Jane Hastings! Her bosom heaved and
her eyes blazed scorn as she looked at this person who had dared
think the touch of his coarse hands would be welcome. Welcome!
``And I have been thinking what a delightful friendship ours
was,'' said she, disgustedly. ``And all the time, your talk
about your ambition--the speeches you were going to make--the
offices you were going to hold-- the good you were going to do in
purifying politics-- it was all a blind!''
``All a blind,'' admitted he. ``From the first night that you
came to our house to dinner--Jen, I'll never forget that dress
you wore--or the way you looked in it.''
Miss Jane had thought extremely well of that toilet herself. She
had heard how impervious this David Hull, the best catch in the
town, was to feminine charm; and she had gone prepared to give
battle. But she said dejectedly, ``You don't know what a shock
you've given me.''
``Yes, I do,'' cried he. ``I'm ashamed of myself. But --I love
you, Jen! Can't you learn to love me?''
``I hadn't even thought of you in that way,'' said she. ``I
haven't bothered my head about marriage. Of course, most girls
have to think about it, because they must get some one to support
``I wish to God you were one of that sort,'' interrupted he.
``Then I could have some hope.''
``Hope of what,'' said she disdainfully. ``You don't mean that
you'd marry a girl who was marrying you because she had to have
food, clothing and shelter?''
``I'd marry the woman I loved. Then--I'd MAKE her love me. She
simply couldn't help it.''
Jane Hastings shuddered. ``Thank heaven, I don't have to
marry!'' Her eyes flashed. ``But I wouldn't, even if I were
poor. I'd rather go to work. Why shouldn't a woman work,
``At what?'' inquired Hull. ``Except the men who do manual
labor, there are precious few men who can make a living honestly
and self-respectingly. It's fortunate the women can hold aloof
and remain pure.''
Jane laughed unpleasantly. ``I'm not so sure that the women who
live with men just for shelter are pure,'' said she.
``Jen,'' the young man burst out, ``you're ambitious-- aren't
``Rather,'' replied she.
``And you like the sort of thing I'm trying to do-- like it and
approve of it?''
``I believe a man ought to succeed--get to the top.''
``So do I--if he can do it honorably.''
Jane hesitated--dared. ``To be quite frank,'' said she, ``I
worship success and I despise failure. Success means strength.
Failure means weakness--and I abominate weakness.''
He looked quietly disapproving. ``You don't mean that. You
don't understand what you're saying.''
``Perfectly,'' she assured him. ``I'm not a bit good. Education
has taken all the namby-pamby nonsense out of me.''
But he was not really hearing; besides, what had women to do with
the realities of life? They were made to be the property of
men--that was the truth, though he would never have confessed it
to any woman. They were made to be possessed. ``And I must
possess this woman,'' he thought, his blood running hot. He
``Why not help me to make a career? I can do it, Jen, with you
She had thought of this before--of making a career for herself,
of doing the ``something'' her intense energy craved, through a
man. The ``something'' must be big if it were to satisfy her;
and what that was big could a woman do except through a man?
But--this man. Her eyes turned thoughtfully upon him--a look
that encouraged him to go on:
``Politics interest you, Jen. I've seen that in the way you
listen and in the questions you ask.''
She smiled--but not at the surface. In fact, his political talk
had bored her. She knew nothing about the subject, and, so, had
been as one listening to an unknown language. But, like all
women, having only the narrowest range of interests herself and
the things that would enable her to show off to advantage, she
was used to being bored by the conversational efforts of men and
to concealing her boredom. She had listened patiently and had
led the conversation by slow, imperceptible stages round to the
interesting personal-- to the struggle for dominion over this
``Anyhow,'' he went on, ``no intelligent person could fail to be
interested in politics, once he or she appreciated what it meant.
And people of our class owe it to society to take part in
politics. Victor Dorn is a crank, but he's right about some
things--and he's right in saying that we of the upper class are
parasites upon the masses. They earn all the wealth, and we take
a large part of it away from them. And it's plain stealing
unless we give some service in return. For instance, you and
I--what have we done, what are we doing that entitles us to draw
so much? Somebody must earn by hard labor all that is produced.
We are not earning. So''--he was looking handsome now in his
manly earnestness--``Jen, it's up to us to do our share--to stop
She was genuinely interested. ``I hadn't thought of these
things,'' said she.
``Victor Dorn says we ought to go to work like laborers,''
pursued David. ``But that's where he's a crank. The truth is,
we ought to give the service of leadership--especially in
politics. And I'm going to do it, Jane Hastings!''
For the first time she had an interest in him other than that of
conquest. ``Just what are you going to do?'' she asked.
``Not upset everything and tear everything to pieces, as Victor
Dorn wants to do,'' replied he. ``But reform the abuses and
wrongs--make it so that every one shall have a fair chance--make
politics straight and honest.''
This sounded hazy to her. ``And what will you get out of it?''
He colored and was a little uneasy as he thus faced a direct
demand for his innermost secret--the secret of selfishness he
tried to hide even from himself. But there was no evading; if he
would interest her he must show her the practical advantages of
his proposal. ``If I'm to do any good,'' said he, putting the
best face, and really not a bad face, upon a difficult and
delicate matter--``if I'm to do any good I must win a commanding
position--must get to be a popular leader--must hold high
``I understand,'' said she. ``That sounds attractive. Yes,
David, you ought to make a career. If I were a man that's the
career I'd choose.''
``You can choose it, though you're a woman,'' rejoined he.
``Marry me, and we'll go up together. You've no idea how
exciting campaigns and elections are. A little while, and you'll
be crazy about it all. The women are taking part, more and
``Who's Victor Dorn?'' she suddenly asked.
``You must remember him. It was his father that was killed by
the railway the day we all went on that excursion to
``Dorn the carpenter,'' said Jane. ``Yes--I remember.'' Her
face grew dreamy with the effort of memory. ``I see it all
again. And there was a boy with a very white face who knelt and
held his head.''
``That was Victor,'' said Hull.
``Yes--I remember him. He was a bad boy--always fighting and
robbing orchards and getting kept after school.''
``And he's still a bad boy--but in a different way. He's out
against everything civilized and everybody that's got money.''
``What does he do? Keep a saloon?''
``No, but he spends a lot of time at them. I must say for him
that he doesn't drink--and professes not to believe in drink.
When I pointed out to him what a bad example he set, loafing
round saloons, he laughed at me and said he was spending his
spare time exactly as Jesus Christ did. `You'll find, Davy, old
man,' he said, `if you'll take the trouble to read your Bible,
that Jesus traveled with publicans and sinners--and a publican is
in plain English a saloonkeeper.' ''
``That was very original--wasn't it?'' said Jane. ``I'm
interested in this man. He's--different. I like people who are
``I don't think you'd like him, Victor Dorn,'' said David.
``Oh, yes--in a way. I admire him,'' graciously. ``He's really
a remarkable fellow, considering his opportunities.''
``He calls you `Davy, old man,' '' suggested Jane.
Hull flushed. ``That's his way. He's free and easy with every
one. He thinks conventionality is a joke.''
``And it is,'' cried Miss Hastings.
``You'd not think so,'' laughed Hull, ``if he called you Jane or
Jenny or my dear Jenny half an hour after he met you.''
``He wouldn't,'' said Miss Hastings in a peculiar tone.
``He would if he felt like it,'' replied Hull. ``And if you
resented it, he'd laugh at you and walk away. I suspect him of
being a good deal of a poseur and a fakir. All those
revolutionary chaps are. But I honestly think that he really
doesn't care a rap for classes --or for money--or for any of the
``He sounds common,'' said Miss Hastings. ``I've lost interest
in him.'' Then in the same breath: ``How does he live? Is he a
``He was--for several years. You see, he and his mother together
brought up the Dorn family after the father was killed. They
didn't get a cent of damages from the railroad. It was an
``But my father was the largest owner of the railroad.''
Hull colored violently. ``You don't understand about business,
Jen. The railroad is a corporation. It fought the case--and the
Dorns had no money--and the railway owned the judge and bribed
several jurors at each trial. Dorn says that was what started
him to thinking --to being a revolutionist--though he doesn't
call himself that.''
``I should think it would!'' cried Miss Hastings. ``If my father
had known----'' She caught her breath. ``But he MUST have
known! He was on the train that day.''
``You don't understand business, Jen. Your father wouldn't
interfere with the management of the corporation .''
``He makes money out of it--doesn't he?''
``So do we all get money out of corporations that are compelled
to do all sorts of queer things. But we can't abolish the
system--we've got to reform it. That's why I'm in politics--and
``Something must be done about that,'' interrupted Jane. ``I
shall talk to father----''
``For heaven's sake, Jen,'' cried David in alarm, ``don't tell
your father I'VE been stirring you up. He's one of the powers in
politics in this State, and----''
``I'll not give you away, Davy,'' said Miss Hastings a little
contemptuously. ``I want to hear more about this Victor Dorn.
I'll get that money for him and his mother. Is he very poor?''
``Well--you'd call him poor. But he says he has plenty. He runs
a small paper. I think he makes about twenty-five dollars a week
out of it--and a little more out of lecturing. Then--every once
in a while he goes back to his trade--to keep his hand in and
enjoy the luxury of earning honest money, as he puts it.''
``How queer!'' exclaimed Miss Hastings. ``I would like to meet
him. Is he--very ignorant?''
``Oh, no--no, indeed. He's worked his way through college--and
law school afterward. Supported the family all the time.''
``He must be tremendously clever.''
``I've given you an exaggerated idea of him,'' Davy hastened to
say. ``He's really an ordinary sort of chap.''
``I should think he'd get rich,'' said Miss Hastings. ``Most of
the men that do--so far as I've met them-- seem ordinary
``He says he could get rich, but that he wouldn't waste time that
way. But he's fond of boasting.''
``You don't think he could make money--after all he did--going to
college and everything?''
``Yes--I guess he could,'' reluctantly admitted Davy. Then in a
burst of candor: ``Perhaps I'm a little jealous of him. If _I_
were thrown on my own resources, I'm afraid I'd make a pretty
wretched showing. But--don't get an exaggerated idea of him.
The things I've told you sound romantic and unusual. If you met
him--saw him every day--you'd realize he's not at all--at least,
not much--out of the ordinary.''
``Perhaps,'' said Miss Hastings shrewdly, ``perhaps I'm getting a
better idea of him than you who see him so often.''
``Oh, you'll run across him sometime,'' said Davy, who was
bearing up no better than would the next man under the strain of
a woman's interest in and excitement about another man. ``When
you do, you'll get enough in about five minutes. You see, he's
not a gentleman .''
``I'm not sure that I'm wildly crazy about gentlemen-- AS
gentlemen,'' replied the girl. ``Very few of the interesting
people I've read about in history and biography have been
``And very few of them would have been pleasant to associate
with,'' rejoined Hull. ``You'll admire Victor as I do. But
you'll feel--as I do--that there's small excuse for a man who has
been educated, who has associated with upper class people,
turning round and inciting the lower classes against everything
that's fine and improving.''
It was now apparent to the girl that David Hull was irritatedly
jealous of this queer Victor Dorn-- was jealous of her interest
in him. Her obvious cue was to fan this flame. In no other way
could she get any amusement out of Davy's society; for his
tendency was to be heavily serious--and she wanted no more of the
too strenuous love making, yet wanted to keep him ``on the
string.'' This jealousy was just the means for her end. Said
she innocently: ``If it irritates you, Davy, we won't talk about
``Not at all--not at all,'' cried Hull. ``I simply thought you'd
be getting tired of hearing so much about a man you'd never
``But I feel as if I did know him,'' replied she. ``Your account
of him was so vivid. I thought of asking you to bring him to
Hull laughed heartily. ``Victor Dorn--calling!''
``He doesn't do that sort of thing. And if he did, how could I
bring him here?''
``Well--in the first place, you are a lady--and he is not in your
class. Of course, men can associate with each other in politics
and business. But the social side of life--that's different.''
``But a while ago you were talking about my going in for
politics,'' said Miss Hastings demurely.
``Still, you'd not have to meet SOCIALLY queer and rough
``Is Victor Dorn very rough?''
The interrupting question was like the bite of a big fly to a
sweating horse. ``I'm getting sick of hearing about him from
you,'' cried Hull with the pettishness of the spoiled children of
the upper class.
``In what way is he rough?'' persisted Miss Hastings. ``If you
didn't wish to talk about Victor Dorn, why did you bring the
``Oh--all right,'' cried Hull, restraining himself. ``Victor
isn't exactly rough. He can act like a gentleman-- when he
happens to want to. But you never can tell what he'll do next.''
``You MUST bring him to call!'' exclaimed Miss Hastings.
``Impossible,'' said Hull angrily.
``But he's the only man I've heard about since I've been home
that I've taken the least interest in.''
``If he did come, your father would have the servants throw him
off the place.''
``Oh, no,'' said Hiss Hastings haughtily. ``My father wouldn't
insult a guest of mine.''
``But you don't know, Jen,'' cried David. ``Why, Victor Dorn
attacks your father in the most outrageous way in his miserable
little anarchist paper--calls him a thief, a briber, a
blood-sucker--a--I'd not venture to repeat to you the things he
``No doubt he got a false impression of father because of that
damage suit,'' said Miss Hastings mildly. ``That was a frightful
thing. I can't be so unjust as to blame him, Davy--can you?''
Hull was silent.
``And I guess father does have to do a lot of things in the
course of business---- Don't all the big men --the leaders?''
``Yes--unfortunately they do,'' said Hull. ``That's what gives
plausibility to the shrieks of demagogues like Victor
Dorn--though Victor is too well educated not to know better than
to stir up the ignorant classes.''
``I wonder why he does it,'' said Miss Hastings, reflectively.
``I must ask him. I want to hear what he says to excuse
himself.'' In fact, she had not the faintest interest in the
views of this queer unknown; her chief reason for saying she had
was to enjoy David Hull's jealousy.
``Before you try to meet Victor,'' said Hull, in a constrained,
desperate way, ``please speak to your father about it.''
``I certainly shall,'' replied the girl. ``As soon as he comes
home this afternoon, I'm going to talk to him about that damage
suit. That has got to be straightened out.'' An expression of
resolution, of gentleness and justice abruptly transformed her
face. ``You may not believe it, but I have a conscience.''
Absently, ``A curious sort of a conscience--one that might become
very troublesome, I'm afraid--in some circumstances.''
Instantly the fine side of David Hull's nature was to the
fore--the dominant side, for at the first appeal it always
responded. ``So have I, Jen,'' said he. ``I think our
similarity in that respect is what draws me so strongly to you.
And it's that that makes me hope I can win you. Oh, Jen--there's
so much to be done in the world--and you and I could have such a
splendid happy life doing our share of it.''
She was once more looking at him with an encouraging interest.
But she said, gently: ``Let's not talk about that any more
``But you'll think about it?'' urged he.
``Yes,'' said she. ``Let's be friends--and--and see what
Hull strolled up to the house with her, but refused to stop for
lunch. He pleaded an engagement; but it was one that could--and
in other circumstances would --have been broken by telephone.
His real reason for hurrying away was fear lest Jane should open
out on the subject of Victor Dorn with her father, and, in her
ignorance of the truth as to the situation, should implicate him.
She found her father already at home and having a bowl of
crackers and milk in a shady corner of the west veranda. He was
chewing in the manner of those whose teeth are few and not too
secure. His brows were knitted and he looked as if not merely
joy but everything except disagreeable sensation had long since
fled his life beyond hope of return--an air not uncommon among
the world's successful men. However, at sight of his lovely
young daughter his face cleared somewhat and he shot at her from
under his wildly and savagely narrowed eyebrows a glance of
admiration and tenderness--a quaint expression for those cold,
Everyone spoke of him behind his back as ``Old Morton Hastings.''
In fact, he was barely past sixty, was at an age at which city
men of the modern style count themselves young and even
entertain--not without reason-- hope of being desired of women
for other than purely practical reasons. He was born on a farm--
was born with an aversion to physical exertion as profound as was
his passion for mental exertion. We never shall know how much of
its progress the world owes to the physically lazy, mentally
tireless men. Those are they who, to save themselves physical
exertion, have devised all manner of schemes and machines to save
labor. And, at bottom, what is progress but man's success in his
effort to free himself from manual labor --to get everything for
himself by the labor of other men and animals and of machines?
Naturally his boyhood of toil on the farm did not lessen Martin
Hastings' innate horror of ``real work.'' He was not twenty when
he dropped tools never to take them up again. He was shoeing a
horse in the heat of the cool side of the barn on a frightful
August day. Suddenly he threw down the hammer and said loudly:
``A man that works is a damn fool. I'll never work again.'' And
he never did.
As soon as he could get together the money--and it was not long
after he set about making others work for him--he bought a buggy,
a kind of phaeton, and a safe horse. Thenceforth he never walked
a step that could be driven. The result of thirty-five years of
this life, so unnatural to an animal that is designed by Nature
for walking and is punished for not doing so-- the result of a
lifetime of this folly was a body shrivelled to a lean brown
husk, legs incredibly meagre and so tottery that they scarcely
could bear him about. His head--large and finely shaped--seemed
so out of proportion that he looked at a glance senile. But no
one who had business dealings with him suspected him of senility
or any degree of weakness. He spoke in a thin dry voice,
shrouded in sardonic humor.
``I don't care for lunch,'' said Jane, dropping to a chair near
the side of the table opposite her father. ``I had breakfast too
late. Besides, I've got to look out for my figure. There's a
tendency to fat in our family.''
The old man chuckled. ``Me, for instance,'' said he.
``Martha, for instance,'' replied Jane. Martha was her one
sister--married and ten years older than she and spaciously
``Wasn't that Davy Hull you were talking to, down in the woods?''
inquired her father.
Jane laughed. ``You see everything,'' said she.
``I didn't see much when I saw him,'' said her father.
Jane was hugely amused. Her father watched her laughter--the
dazzling display of fine teeth--with delighted eyes. ``You've
got mighty good teeth, Jenny,'' observed he. ``Take care of 'em.
You'll never know what misery is till you've got no teeth--or
next to none.'' He looked disgustedly into his bowl. ``Crackers
and milk!'' grunted he. ``No teeth and no digestion. The only
pleasure a man of my age can have left is eating, and I'm cheated
out of that.''
``So, you wouldn't approve of my marrying Davy?'' said the girl.
Her father grunted--chuckled. ``I didn't say that. Does he want
to marry you?''
``I didn't say that,'' retorted Jane. ``He's an unattached young
man--and I, being merely a woman, have got to look out for a
Martin looked gloomy. ``There's no hurry,'' said he. ``You've
been away six years. Seems to me you might stay at home a
``Oh, I'd bring him here, popsy I've no intention of leaving you.
You were in an awful state, when I came home. That mustn't ever
happen again. And as you won't live with Martha and Hugo--why,
I've got to be the victim.''
``Yes--it's up to you, Miss, to take care of me in my declining
years. . . . You can marry Davy--if you want to. Davy--or
anybody. I trust to your good sense.''
``If I don't like him, I can get rid of him,'' said the girl.
Her father smiled indulgently. ``That's A LEETLE too up-to-date
for an old man like me,'' observed he. ``The world's moving fast
nowadays. It's got a long ways from where it was when your ma
and I were young.''
``Do you think Davy Hull will make a career?'' asked Jane. She
had heard from time to time as much as she cared to hear about
the world of a generation before --of its bareness and
discomfort, its primness, its repulsive piety, its ignorance of
all that made life bright and attractive--how it quite overlooked
this life in its agitation about the extremely problematic life
to come. ``I mean a career in politics,'' she explained.
The old man munched and smacked for full a minute before he said,
``Well, he can make a pretty good speech. Yes--I reckon he could
be taken in hand and pushed. He's got a lot of fool college-bred
ideas about reforming things. But he'd soon drop them, if he got
into the practical swing. As soon as he had a taste of success,
he'd stop being finicky. Just now, he's one of those nice, pure
chaps who stand off and tell how things ought to be done. But
he'd get over that.''
Jane smiled peculiarly--half to herself. ``Yes--I think he
would. In fact, I'm sure he would.'' She looked at her father.
``Do you think he amounts to as much as Victor Dorn?'' she asked,
The old man dropped a half raised spoonful of milk and crackers
into the bowl with a splash. ``Dorn-- he's a scoundrel!'' he
exclaimed, shaking with passion. ``I'm going to have that dirty
little paper of his stopped and him put out of town. Impudent
puppy!--foul- mouthed demagogue! I'll SHOW him!''
``Why, he doesn't amount to anything, father,'' remonstrated the
girl. ``He's nothing but a common working man--isn't he?''
``That's all he is--the hound!'' replied Martin Hastings. A
look of cruelty, of tenacious cruelty, had come into his face.
It would have startled a stranger. But his daughter had often
seen it; and it did not disturb her, as it had never appeared for
anything that in any way touched her life. ``I've let him hang
on here too long,'' went on the old man, to himself rather than
to her. ``First thing I know he'll be dangerous.''
``If he's worth while I should think you'd hire him,'' remarked
``I wouldn't have such a scoundrel in my employ,'' cried her
``Oh, maybe,'' pursued the daughter, ``maybe you couldn't hire
``Of course I could,'' scoffed Hastings. ``Anybody can be
``I don't believe it,'' said the girl bluntly.
``One way or another,'' declared the old man. ``That Dorn boy
isn't worth the price he'd want.''
``What price would he want?'' asked Jane.
``How should I know?'' retorted her father angrily.
``You've tried to hire him--haven't you?'' persisted she.
The father concentrated on his crackers and milk. Presently he
said: ``What did that fool Hull boy say about Dorn to you?''
``He doesn't like him,'' replied Jane. ``He seems to be jealous
of him--and opposed to his political views.''
``Dorn's views ain't politics. They're--theft and murder and
highfalutin nonsense,'' said Hastings, not unconscious of his
``All the same, he--or rather, his mother--ought to have got
damages from the railway,'' said the girl. And there was a
sudden and startling shift in her expression --to a tenacity as
formidable as her father's own, but a quiet and secret tenacity.
Old Hastings wiped his mouth and began fussing uncomfortably with
``I don't blame him for getting bitter and turning against
society,'' continued she. ``I'd have done the same thing--and so
Hastings lit the cigar. ``They wanted ten thousand dollars,'' he
said, almost apologetically. ``Why, they never saw ten thousand
cents they could call their own.''
``But they lost their bread-winner, father,'' pleaded the girl.
``And there were young children to bring up and educate. Oh, I
hate to think that--that we had anything to do with such a
``It wasn't a wrong, Jen--as I used to tell your ma,'' said the
old man, much agitated and shrill of voice. ``It was just the
course of business. The law was with our company.''
Jane said nothing. She simply gazed steadily at her father. He
avoided her glance.
``I don't want to hear no more about it,'' he burst out with
abrupt violence. ``Not another word!''
``Father, I want it settled--and settled right,'' said the girl.
``I ask it as a favor. Don't do it as a matter of business, but
as a matter of sentiment.''
He shifted uneasily, debating. When he spoke he was even more
explosive than before. ``Not a cent! Not a red! Give that
whelp money to run his crazy paper on? Not your father, while he
keeps his mind.''
``But--mightn't that quiet him?'' pleaded she. ``What's the use
of having war when you can have peace? You've always laughed at
people who let their prejudices stand in the way of their
interests. You've always laughed at how silly and stupid and
costly enmities and revenges are. Now's your chance to
illustrate, popsy.'' And she smiled charmingly at him.
He was greatly softened by her manner--and by the wisdom of what
she said--a wisdom in which, as in a mirror, he recognized with
pleasure her strong resemblance to himself. ``That wouldn't be a
bad idea, Jen,'' said he after reflection, ``IF I could get a
``But why not do it generously?'' urged the girl. ``Generosity
inspires generosity. You'll make him ashamed of himself.''
With a cynical smile on his shrivelled face the old man slowly
shook his big head that made him look as top-heavy as a newborn
baby. ``That isn't as smart, child, as what you said before.
It's in them things that the difference between theory and
practice shows. He'd take the money and laugh at me. No, I'll
try to get a guarantee.'' He nodded and chuckled. ``Yes, that
was a good idea of yours, Jen.''
``But--isn't it just possible that he is a man with-- with
principles of a certain kind?'' suggested she.
``Of course, he THINKS so,'' said Hastings. ``They all do. But
you don't suppose a man of any sense at all could really care
about and respect working class people?--ignorant, ungrateful
fools. _I_ know 'em. Didn't I come from among 'em? Ain't I
dealt with 'em all my life? No, that there guy Dorn's simply
trying to get up, and is using them to step up on. I did the
same thing, only I did it in a decent, law-abiding way. I didn't
want to tear down those that was up. I wanted to go up and join
'em. And I did.''
And his eyes glistened fondly and proudly as he gazed at his
daughter. She represented the climax of his rising--she, the
lady born and bred, in her beautiful clothes, with her lovely,
delicate charms. Yes, he had indeed ``come up,'' and there
before him was the superb tangible evidence of it.
Jane had the strongest belief in her father's worldly wisdom. At
the same time, from what David Hull said she had got an
impression of a something different from the ordinary human being
in this queer Victor Dorn. ``You'd better move slowly,'' she
said to her father. ``There's no hurry, and you might be
mistaken in him.''
``Plenty of time,'' asserted her father. ``There's never any
need to hurry about giving up money.'' Then, with one of those
uncanny flashes of intuition for which he, who was never caught
napping, was famous, he said to her sharply: ``You keep your
hands off, miss.''
She was thrown into confusion--and her embarrassment enraged her
against herself. ``What could _I_ do?'' she retorted with a
brave attempt at indifference.
``Well--keep your hands off, miss,'' said the old man. ``No
female meddling in business. I'll stand for most anything, but
not for that.''
Jane was now all eagerness for dropping the subject. She wished
no further prying of that shrewd mind into her secret thoughts.
``It's hardly likely I'd meddle where I know nothing about the
circumstances,'' said she. ``Will you drive me down to
This request was made solely to change the subject, to shift her
father to his favorite topic for family conversation--his
daughter Martha, Mrs. Hugo Galland, her weakness for fashionable
pastimes, her incessant hints and naggings at her father about
his dowdy dress, his vulgar mannerisms of speech and of conduct,
especially at table. Jane had not the remotest intention of
letting her father drive her to Mrs. Galland's, or anywhere, in
the melancholy old phaeton-buggy, behind the fat old nag whose
coat was as shabby as the coat of the master or as the top and
the side curtains of the sorrowful vehicle it drew along at
When her father was ready to depart for his office in the
Hastings Block--the most imposing office building in Remsen City,
Jane announced a change of mind.
``I'll ride, instead,'' said she. ``I need the exercise, and the
day isn't too warm.''
``All right,'' said Martin Hastings grumpily. He soon got enough
of anyone's company, even of his favorite daughter's. Through
years of habit he liked to jog about alone, revolving in his mind
his business affairs--counting in fancy his big bundles of
securities, one by one, calculating their returns past, present
and prospective--reviewing the various enterprises in which he
was dominant factor, working out schemes for getting more profit
here, for paying less wages there, for tightening his grip upon
this enterprise, for dumping his associates in that, for escaping
with all the valuable assets from another. His appearance, as he
and his nag dozed along the highroad, was as deceptive as that of
a hive of bees on a hot day--no signs of life except a few sleepy
workers crawling languidly in and out at the low, broad
crack-door, yet within myriads toiling like mad.
Jane went up to dress. She had brought an Italian maid with her
from Florence, and a mass of baggage that had given the station
loungers at Remsen City something to talk about, when there was a
dearth of new subjects, for the rest of their lives. She had
transformed her own suite in the second story of the big old
house into an appearance of the quarters of a twentieth century
woman of wealth and leisure. In the sitting room were books in
four languages; on the walls were tasteful reproductions of her
favorite old masters. The excellence of her education was
attested not by the books and pictures but by the absence of
those fussy, commonplace draperies and bits of bric-a-brac
where-- with people of no taste and no imagination furnish their
houses because they can think of nothing else to fill in the
Many of Jane's ways made Sister Martha uneasy. For Martha, while
admitting that Jane through superior opportunity ought to know,
could not believe that the ``right sort'' of people on the other
side had thrown over all her beloved formalities and were
conducting themselves distressingly like tenement-house people.
For instance, Martha could not approve Jane's habit of smoking
cigarettes--a habit which, by one of those curious freaks of
character, enormously pleased her father. But--except in one
matter--Martha entirely approved Jane's style of dress. She
hastened to pronounce it ``just too elegant'' and repeated that
phrase until Jane, tried beyond endurance, warned her that the
word elegant was not used seriously by people of the ``right
sort'' and that its use was regarded as one of those small but
subtle signs of the loathsome ``middle class.''
The one thing in Jane's dress that Martha disapproved-- or,
rather, shied at--was her riding suit. This was an extremely
noisy plaid man's suit--for Jane rode astride. Martha could not
deny that Jane looked ``simply stunning'' when seated on her
horse and dressed in that garb with her long slim feet and
graceful calves encased in a pair of riding boots that looked as
if they must have cost ``something fierce.'' But was it really
``ladylike''? Hadn't Jane made a mistake and adopted a costume
worn only by the fashionables among the demi-mondaines of whom
Martha had read and had heard such dreadful, delightful stories?
It was the lively plaid that Miss Hastings now clad herself in.
She loved that suit. Not only did it give her figure a superb
opportunity but also it brought out new beauties in her contour
and coloring. And her head was so well shaped and her hair grew
so thickly about brow and ears and nape of neck that it looked
full as well plaited and done close as when it was framing her
face and half concealing, half revealing her charming ears in
waves of changeable auburn. After a lingering--and pardonably
pleased--look at herself in a long mirror, she descended, mounted
and rode slowly down toward town.
The old Galland homestead was at the western end of town--in a
quarter that had become almost poor. But it was so dignified and
its grounds were so extensive that it suggested a manor house
with the humble homes of the lord's dependents clustering about
it for shelter. To reach it Jane had to ride through two filthy
streets lined with factories. As she rode she glanced at the
windows, where could be seen in dusty air girls and boys busy at
furiously driven machines-- machines that compelled their human
slaves to strain every nerve in the monotonous task of keeping
them occupied. Many of the girls and boys paused long enough for
a glance at the figure of the man-clad girl on the big horse.
Jane, happy in the pleasant sunshine, in her beauty and health
and fine raiment and secure and luxurious position in the world,
gave a thought of pity to these imprisoned young people. ``How
lucky I am,'' she thought, ``not to have been born like that. Of
course, we all have our falls now and then. But while they
always strike on the hard ground, I've got a feather bed to fall
When she reached Martha's and was ushered into the cool upstairs
sitting room, in somehow ghastly contrast to the hot rooms where
the young working people sweated and strained, the subject
persisted in its hold on her thoughts. There was Martha, in
comfortable, corsetless expansiveness--an ideal illustration of
the worthless idler fattening in purposelessness. She was
engaged with all her energies in preparing for the ball Hugo
Galland's sister, Mrs. Bertrand, was giving at the assembly rooms
``I've been hard at it for several days now,'' said she. ``I
think at last I see daylight. But I want your opinion.''
Jane gazed absently at the dress and accompanying articles that
had been assembled with so much labor. ``All right,'' said she.
``You'll look fine and dandy.''
Martha twitched. ``Jane, dear--don't say that-- don't use such
an expression. I know it's your way of joking. But lots of
people would think you didn't know any better.''
``Let 'em think,'' said Jane. ``I say and do as I please.''
Martha sighed. Here was one member of her family who could be a
credit, who could make people forget the unquestionably common
origin of the Hastingses and of the Morleys. Yet this member was
always breaking out into something mortifying, something
reminiscent of the farm and of the livery stable--for the
deceased Mrs. Hastings had been daughter of a livery stable
keeper--in fact, had caught Martin Hastings by the way she rode
her father's horses at a sale at a county fair. Said Martha:
``You haven't really looked at my clothes, Jane. Why DID you go
back to calling yourself Jane?''
``Because it's my name,'' replied her sister.
``I know that. But you hated it and changed it to Jeanne, which
is so much prettier.''
``I don't think so any more,'' replied Miss Hastings. ``My taste
has improved. Don't be so horribly middle class, Martha--ashamed
of everything simple and natural.''
``You think you know it all--don't you?--just because you've
lived abroad,'' said Martha peevishly.
``On the contrary, I don't know one-tenth as much as I thought I
did, when I came back from Wellesley with a diploma.''
``Do you like my costume?'' inquired Martha, eying her finery
with the fond yet dubious expression of the woman who likes her
own taste but is not sure about its being good taste.
``What a lazy, worthless pair we are!'' exclaimed Jane, hitting
her boot leg a tremendous rap with her little cane.
Martha startled. ``Good God--Jane--what is it?'' she cried.
``On the way here I passed a lot of factories,'' pursued Jane.
``Why should those people have to work like--like the devil,
while we sit about planning ball dresses?''
Martha settled back comfortably. ``I feel so sorry for those
poor people,'' said she, absently sympathetic.
``But why?'' demanded Jane. ``WHY? Why should we be allowed to
idle while they have to slave? What have we done--what are we
doing--to entitle us to ease? What have they done to condemn
them to pain and toil?''
``You know very well, Jane, that we represent the finer side of
``Slop!'' ejaculated Jane.
``For pity's sake, don't let's talk politics,'' wailed Martha.
``I know nothing about politics. I haven't any brains for that
sort of thing.''
``Is that politics?'' inquired Jane. ``I thought politics meant
whether the Democrats or the Republicans or the reformers were to
get the offices and the chance to steal.''
``Everything's politics, nowadays,'' said Martha, comparing the
color of the material of her dress with the color of her fat
white arm. ``As Hugo says, that Victor Dorn is dragging
everything into politics--even our private business of how we
make and spend our own money.''
Jane sat down abruptly. ``Victor Dorn,'' she said in a strange
voice. ``WHO is Victor Dorn? WHAT is Victor Dorn? It seems
that I can hear of nothing but Victor Dorn to-day.''
``He's too low to talk about,'' said Martha, amiable and absent.
``Politics,'' replied Martha. ``Really, he is horrid, Jane.''
``To look at?''
``No--not to look at. He's handsome in a way. Not at all common
looking. You might take him for a gentleman, if you didn't know.
Still--he always dresses peculiarly--always wears soft hats. I
think soft hats are SO vulgar--don't you?''
``How hopelessly middle-class you are, Martha,'' mocked Jane.
``Hugo would as soon think of going in the street in a--in a--I
don't know what.''
``Hugo is the finest flower of American gentleman. That is, he's
the quintessence of everything that's nice --and `nasty.' I wish
I were married to him for a week. I love Hugo, but he gives me
the creeps.'' She rose and tramped restlessly about the room.
``You both give me the creeps. Everything conventional gives me
the creeps. If I'm not careful I'll dress myself in a long
shirt, let down my hair and run wild.''
``What nonsense you do talk,'' said Martha composedly.
Jane sat down abruptly. ``So I do!'' she said. ``I'm as poor a
creature as you at bottom. I simply like to beat against the
bars of my cage to make myself think I'm a wild, free bird by
nature. If you opened the door, I'd not fly out, but would hop
meekly back to my perch and fall to smoothing my feathers. . . .
Tell me some more about Victor Dorn.''
``I told you he isn't fit to talk about,'' said Martha. ``Do you
know, they say now that he is carrying on with that shameless,
brazen thing who writes for his paper, that Selma Gordon?''
``Selma Gordon,'' echoed Jane. Her brows came down in a gesture
reminiscent of her father, and there was a disagreeable
expression about her mouth and in her light brown eyes. ``Who's
``She makes speeches--and writes articles against rich
people--and--oh, she's horrid.''
``No--a scrawny, black thing. The men--some of them--say she's
got a kind of uncanny fascination. Some even insist that she's
beautiful.'' Martha laughed. ``Beautiful! How could a woman
with black hair and a dark skin and no flesh on her bones be
``It has been known to happen,'' said Jane curtly. ``Is she one
of THE Gordons?''
``Mercy, no!'' cried Martha Galland. ``She simply took the name
of Gordon--that is, her father did. He was a Russian peasant--a
Jew. And he fell in love with a girl who was of noble family--a
princess, I think.''
``Princess doesn't mean much in Russia,'' said Jane sourly.
``Anyhow, they ran away to this country. And he worked in the
rolling mill here--and they both died-- and Selma became a
factory girl--and then took to writing for the New Day--that's
Victor Dorn's paper, you know.''
``How romantic,'' said Jane sarcastically. ``And now Victor
Dorn's in love with her?''
``I didn't say that,'' replied Martha, with a scandal-
Jane Hastings went to the window and gazed out into the garden.
Martha resumed her habitual warm day existence--sat rocking
gently and fanning herself and looking leisurely about the room.
Presently she said:
``Jane, why don't you marry Davy Hull?''
``He's got an independent income--so there's no question of his
marrying for money. And there isn't any family anywhere that's
better than his--mighty few as good. And he's DEAD in love with
With her back still turned Jane snapped, ``I'd rather marry
``What OUTRAGEOUS things you do say!'' cried Martha.
``I envy that black Jewess--that--what's her name? --that Selma
``You don't even know them,'' said Martha.
Jane wheeled round with a strange laugh. ``Don't I?'' cried she.
``I don't know anyone else.''
She strode to her sister and tapped her lightly on the shoulder
with the riding stick.
``Be careful,'' cautioned Martha. ``You know how easily my flesh
mars--and I'm going to wear my low neck to-night.''
Jane did not heed. ``David Hull is a bore--and a fraud,'' she
said. ``I tell you I'd rather marry Victor Dorn.''
``Do be careful about my skin, dear,'' pleaded Martha. ``Hugo'll
be SO put out if there's a mark on it. He's very proud of my
Jane looked at her quizzically. ``What a dear, fat old rotter of
a respectability it is, to be sure,'' said she --and strode from
the room, and from the house.
Her mood of perversity and defiance did not yield to a ten mile
gallop over the gentle hills of that lovely part of Indiana, but
held on through the afternoon and controlled her toilet for the
ball. She knew that every girl in town would appear at that most
fashionable party of the summer season in the best clothing she
could get together. As she had several dresses from Paris which
she not without reason regarded as notable works of art, the
opportunity to outshine was hers-- the sort of opportunity she
took pleasure in using to the uttermost, as a rule. But to be
the best dressed woman at Mrs. Bertram's party was too easy and
too commonplace. To be the worst dressed would call for courage
--of just the sort she prided herself on having. Also, it would
look original, would cause talk--would give her the coveted sense
When she descended to show herself to her father and say good
night to him, she was certainly dressed by the same pattern that
caused him to be talked about throughout that region. Her gown
was mussed, had been mended obviously in several places, had not
been in its best day becoming. But this was not all. Her hair
looked stringy and dishevelled. She was delighted with herself.
Except during an illness two years before never had she come so
near to being downright homely. ``Martha will die of shame,''
said she to herself. ``And Mrs. Bertram will spend the evening
explaining me to everybody.'' She did not definitely formulate
the thought, ``And I shall be the most talked about person of the
evening''; but it was in her mind none the less.
Her father always smoked his after-dinner cigar in a little room
just off the library. It was filled up with the plain cheap
furniture and the chromos and mottoes which he and his wife had
bought when they first went to housekeeping--in their early days
of poverty and struggle. On the south wall was a crude and
cheap, but startlingly large enlargement of an old daguerreotype
of Letitia Hastings at twenty-four--the year after her marriage
and the year before the birth of the oldest child, Robert, called
Dock, now piling up a fortune as an insider in the Chicago
``brave'' game of wheat and pork, which it is absurd to call
gambling because gambling involves chance. To smoke the one
cigar the doctor allowed him, old Martin Hastings always seated
himself before this picture. He found it and his thoughts the
best company in the world, just as he had found her silent self
and her thoughts the best company in their twenty-one years of
married life. As he sat there, sometimes he thought of her--of
what they had been through together, of the various advances in
his fortune--how this one had been made near such and such
anniversary, and that one between two other anniversaries--and
what he had said to her and what she had said to him.
Again--perhaps oftener--he did not think of her directly, any
more than he had thought of her when they sat together evening
after evening, year in and year out, through those twenty-one
years of contented and prosperous life.
As Jane entered he, seated back to the door, said:
``About that there Dorn damage suit----''
Jane started, caught her breath. Really, it was uncanny, this
continual thrusting of Victor Dorn at her.
``It wasn't so bad as it looked,'' continued her father. He was
speaking in the quiet voice--quiet and old and sad--he always
used when seated before the picture.
``You see, Jenny, in them days''--also, in presence of the
picture he lapsed completely into the dialect of his youth--``in
them days the railroad was teetering and I couldn't tell which
way things'd jump. Every cent counted.''
``I understand perfectly, father,'' said Jane, her hands on his
shoulders from behind. She felt immensely relieved. She did not
realize that every doer of a mean act always has an excellent
excuse for it.
``Then afterwards,'' the old man went on, ``the family was
getting along so well--the boy was working steady and making good
money and pushing ahead--and I was afeared I'd do harm instead of
good. It's mighty dangerous, Jen, to give money sudden to folks
that ain't used to it. I've seen many a smash-up come that way.
And your ma--she thought so, too--kind of.''
The ``kind of'' was advanced hesitatingly, with an apologetic
side glance at the big crayon portrait. But Jane was entirely
convinced. She was average human; therefore, she believed what
she wished to believe.
``You were quite right, father,'' said she. ``I knew you
couldn't do a bad thing--wouldn't deliberately strike at weak,
helpless people. And now, it can be straightened out and the
Dorns will be all the better for not having been tempted in the
days when it might have ruined them.''
She had walked round where her father could see her, as she
delivered herself of this speech so redolent of the fumes of
collegiate smugness. He proceeded to examine her--with an
expression of growing dissatisfaction. Said he fretfully:
``You don't calculate to go out, looking like that?''
``Out to the swellest blow-out of the year, popsy,'' said she.
The big heavy looking head wobbled about uneasily. ``You look
too much like your old pappy's daughter,'' said he.
``I can afford to,'' replied she.
The head shook positively. ``You ma wouldn't 'a liked it. She
was mighty partic'lar how she dressed.''
Jane laughed gayly. ``Why, when did you become a critic of
women's dress?'' cried she.
``I always used to buy yer ma dresses and hats when I went to the
city,'' said he. ``And she looked as good as the best--not for
these days, but for them times.'' He looked critically at the
portrait. ``I bought them clothes and awful dear they seemed to
me.'' His glance returned to his daughter. ``Go get yourself up
proper,'' said he, between request and command. ``SHE wouldn't
'a liked it.''
Jane gazed at the common old crayon, suddenly flung her arms
round the old man's neck. ``Yes-- father,'' she murmured. ``To
She fled; the old man wiped his eyes, blew his nose and resumed
the careful smoking of the cheap, smelly cigar. He said he
preferred that brand of his days of poverty; and it was probably
true, as he would refuse better cigars offered him by fastidious
men who hoped to save themselves from the horrors of his. He
waited restlessly, though it was long past his bedtime; he yawned
and pretended to listen while Davy Hull, who had called for Jane
in the Hull brougham, tried to make a favorable impression upon
him. At last Jane reappeared-- and certainly Letitia Hastings
would have been more than satisfied.
``Sorry to keep you waiting,'' said she to Hull, who was
speechless and tremulous before her voluptuous radiance. ``But
father didn't like the way I was rigged out. Maybe I'll have to
``Take her along, Davy,'' said Hastings, his big head wagging
with delight. ``She's a caution--SHE is!''
Hull could not control himself to speak. As they sat in the
carriage, she finishing the pulling on of her gloves, he stared
out into the heavy rain that was deluging the earth and bending
low the boughs. Said she, half way down the hill:
``Well--can't you talk about anything but Victor Dorn?''
``I saw him this afternoon,'' said Hull, glad that the tension of
the silence was broken.
``Then you've got something to talk about.''
``The big street car strike is on.''
``So father said at dinner. I suppose Victor Dorn caused it.''
``No--he's opposed to it. He's queer. I don't exactly
understand his ideas. He says strikes are ridiculous-- that it's
like trying to cure smallpox by healing up one single sore.''
Jane gave a shiver of lady-like disgust. ``How-- nasty,'' said
``I'm telling you what he said. But he says that the only way
human beings learn how to do things right is by doing them
wrong--so while he's opposed to strikes he's also in favor of
``Even _I_ understand that,'' said Jane. ``I don't think it's
``Doesn't it strike you as--as inconsistent?''
``Oh--bother consistency!'' scoffed the girl. ``That's another
middle class virtue that sensible people loathe as a vice.''
Anyhow, he's helping the strikers all he can--and fighting US.
You know, your father and my father's estate are the two biggest
owners of the street railways.''
``I must get his paper,'' said Jane. ``I'll have a lot of fun
reading the truth about us.''
But David wasn't listening. He was deep in thought. After a
while he said: ``It's amazing--and splendid-- and terrible, what
power he's getting in our town. Victor Dorn, I mean.''
``Always Victor Dorn,'' mocked Jane.
``When he started--twelve years ago as a boy of twenty, just out
of college and working as a carpenter --when he started, he was
alone and poor, and without friends or anything. He built up
little by little, winning one man at a time--the fellow working
next him on his right, then the chap working on his left--in the
shop--and so on, one man after another. And whenever he got a
man he held him--made him as devoted-- as--as fanatical as he is
himself. Now he's got a band of nearly a thousand. There are
ten thousand voters in this town. So, he's got only one in ten.
But what a thousand!''
Jane was gazing out into the rain, her eyes bright, her lips
``Are you listening?'' asked Hull. ``Or, am I boring you?''
``Go on,'' said she.
``They're a thousand missionaries--apostles--yes, apostle is the
name for them. They live and breathe and think and talk only the
ideas Victor Dorn believes and fights for. And whenever he wants
anything done --anything for the cause--why, there are a thousand
men ready to do it.''
``Why?'' said Jane.
``Victor Dorn,'' said Hull. ``Do you wonder that he interests
me? For instance, to-night: you see how it's raining. Well,
Victor Dorn had them print to-day fifty thousand leaflets about
this strike--what it means to his cause. And he has asked five
hundred of his men to stand on the corners and patrol the streets
and distribute those dodgers. I'll bet not a man will be
``But why?'' repeated Jane. ``What for?''
``He wants to conquer this town. He says the world has to be
conquered--and that the way to begin is to begin--and that he has
``Conquer it for what?''
``For himself, I guess,'' said Hull. ``Of course, he professes
that it's for the public good. They all do. But what's the
``If I saw him I could tell you,'' said Jane in the full pride of
her belief in her woman's power of divination in character.
``However, he can't succeed,'' observed Hull.
``Oh, yes, he can,'' replied Jane. ``And will. Even if every
idea he had were foolish and wrong. And it isn't--is it?''
David laughed peculiarly. ``He's infernally uncomfortably right
in most of the things he charges and proposes. I don't like to
think about it.'' He shut his teeth together. ``I WON'T think
about it,'' he muttered.
``No--you'd better stick to your own road, Davy,'' said Jane with
irritating mockery. ``You were born to be thoroughly
conventional and respectable. As a reformer you're ideal. As
a--an imitator of Victor Dorn, you'd be a joke.''
``There's one of his men now,'' exclaimed Hull, leaning forward
Jane looked. A working man, a commonplace enough object, was
standing under the corner street lamp, the water running off his
hat, his shoulders, his coat tail. His package of dodgers was
carefully shielded by an oilcloth from the wet which had full
swing at the man. To every passer-by he presented a dodger,
accompanying the polite gesture with some phrase which seemed to
move the man or woman to take what was offered and to put it away
instead of dropping it.
Jane sank back in the carriage, disappointed. ``Is that all?''
said she disdainfully.
``ALL?'' cried Hull. ``Use your imagination, Jen. But I
forgot--you're a woman. They see only surfaces.''
``And are snared into marrying by complexions and pretty features
and dresses and silly flirting tricks,'' retorted the girl
Hull laughed. ``I spoke too quick that time,'' said he. ``I
suppose you expected to see something out of a fifteenth century
Italian old master! Well--it was there, all right.''
Jane shrugged her shoulders. ``And your Victor Dorn,'' said she,
``no doubt he's seated in some dry, comfortable place enjoying
the thought of his men making fools of themselves for him.''
They were drawing up to the curb before the Opera House where
were the assembly rooms. ``There he is now,'' cried Hull.
Jane, startled, leaned eagerly forward. In the rain beyond the
edge of the awning stood a dripping figure not unlike that other
which had so disappointed her. Underneath the brim of the hat
she could see a smooth- shaven youngish face--almost boyish. But
the rain streaming from the brim made satisfactory scrutiny
Jane again sank back. ``How many carriages before us?'' she
``You're disappointed in him, too, I suppose,'' said Hull. ``I
knew you would be.''
``I thought he was tall,'' said Jane.
``Only middling,'' replied Hull, curiously delighted.
``I thought he was serious,'' said Jane.
``On the contrary, he's always laughing. He's the best natured
man I know.''
As they descended and started along the carpet under the middle
of the awning, Jane halted. She glanced toward the dripping
figure whom the police would not permit under the shelter. Said
she: ``I want one of those papers.''
Davy moved toward the drenched distributor of strike literature.
``Give me one, Dorn,'' he said in his most elegant manner.
``Sure, Davy,'' said Dorn in a tone that was a subtle commentary
on Hull's aristocratic tone and manner. As he spoke he glanced
at Jane; she was looking at him. Both smiled--at Davy's expense.
Davy and Jane passed on in, Jane folding the dodger to tuck it
away for future reading. She said to him: ``But you didn't tell
me about his eyes.''
``What's the matter with them?''
``Everything,'' replied she--and said no more.
The dance was even more tiresome than Jane had anticipated.
There had been little pleasure in outshining the easily outshone
belles of Remsen City. She had felt humiliated by having to
divide the honors with a brilliantly beautiful and scandalously
audacious Chicago girl, a Yvonne Hereford--whose style, in looks,
in dress and in wit, was more comfortable to the standard of the
best young men of Remsen City--a standard which Miss Hastings,
cultivated by foreign travel and social adventure, regarded as
distinctly poor, not to say low. Miss Hereford's audacities were
especially offensive to Jane. Jane was audacious herself, but
she flattered herself that she had a delicate sense of that
baffling distinction between the audacity that is the hall mark
of the lady and the audacity that proclaims the not-lady. For
example, in such apparently trifling matters as the way of
smoking a cigarette, the way of crossing the legs or putting the
elbows on the table or using slang, Jane found a difference,
abysmal though narrow, between herself and Yvonne Hereford.
``But then, her very name gives her away,'' reflected Jane.
``There'd surely be a frightfully cheap streak in a mother who in
this country would name her daughter Yvonne--or in a girl who
would name herself that.''
However, Jane Hastings was not deeply annoyed either by the
shortcomings of Remsen City young men or by the rivalry of Miss
Hereford. Her dissatisfaction was personal--the feeling of
futility, of cheapness, in having dressed herself in her best and
spent a whole evening at such unworthy business. ``Whatever I am
or am not fit for,'' said she to herself, ``I'm not for
society--any kind of society. At least I'm too much grown-up
mentally for that.'' Her disdainful thoughts about others were,
on this occasion as almost always, merely a mode of expressing
As she was undressing she found in her party bag the dodger Hull
had got for her from Victor Dorn. She, sitting at her dressing
table, started to read it at once. But her attention soon
wandered. ``I'm not in the mood,'' she said. ``To-morrow.''
And she tossed it into the top drawer. The fact was, the subject
of politics interested her only when some man in whom she was
interested was talking it to her. In a general way she
understood things political, but like almost all women and all
but a few men she could fasten her attention only on things
directly and clearly and nearly related to her own interests.
Politics seemed to her to be not at all related to her--or,
indeed, to anybody but the men running for office. This dodger
was politics, pure and simple. A plea to workingmen to awaken to
the fact that their STRIKES were stupid and wasteful, that the
way to get better pay and decent hours of labor was by uniting,
taking possession of the power that was rightfully theirs and
regulating their own affairs.
She resumed fixing her hair for the night. Her glance bent
steadily downward at one stage of this performance, rested
unseeingly upon the handbill folded printed side out and on top
of the contents of the open drawer. She happened to see two
capital letters-- S. G.--in a line by themselves at the end of
the print. She repeated them mechanically several times--``S. G.
--S. G.--S. G.''--then her hands fell from her hair upon the
handbill. She settled herself to read in earnest.
``Selma Gordon,'' she said. ``That's different.''
She would have had some difficulty in explaining to herself why
it was ``different.'' She read closely, concentratedly now. She
tried to read in an attitude of unfriendly criticism, but she
could not. A dozen lines, and the clear, earnest, honest
sentences had taken hold of her. How sensible the statements
were, and how obviously true. Why, it wasn't the writing of an
``anarchistic crank'' at all--on the contrary, the writer was if
anything more excusing toward the men who were giving the drivers
and motormen a dollar and ten cents a day for fourteen hours'
work--``fourteen hours!'' cried Jane, her cheeks burning--yes,
Selma Gordon was more tolerant of the owners of the street car
line than Jane herself would have been.
When Jane had read, she gazed at the print with sad envy in her
eyes. ``Selma Gordon can think--and she can write, too,'' said
she half aloud. ``I want to know her--too.''
That ``too'' was the first admission to herself of a curiously
intense desire to meet Victor Dorn.
``Oh, to be in earnest about something! To have a real interest!
To find something to do besides the nursery games disguised under
new forms for the grown-up yet never to be grown-up infants of
the world. ``And THAT kind of politics doesn't sound shallow and
dull. There's heart in it--and brains--real brains--not merely
nasty little self-seeking cunning.'' She took up the handbill
again and read a paragraph set in bolder type:
``The reason we of the working class are slaves is because we
haven't intelligence enough to be our own masters, let alone
masters of anybody else. The talk of equality, workingmen, is
nonsense to flatter your silly, ignorant vanity. We are not the
equals of our masters. They know more than we do, and naturally
they use that knowledge to make us work for them. So, even if
you win in this strike or in all your strikes, you will not much
better yourselves. Because you are ignorant and foolish, your
masters will scheme around and take from you in some other way
what you have wrenched from them in the strike.
``Organize! Think! Learn! Then you will rise out of the dirt
where you wallow with your wives and your children. Don't blame
your masters; they don't enslave you. They don't keep you in
slavery. Your chains are of your own forging and only you can
strike them off!''
Certainly no tenement house woman could be lazier, emptier of
head, more inane of life than her sister Martha. ``She wouldn't
even keep clean if it wasn't the easiest thing in the world for
her to do, and a help at filling in her long idle day.''
Yet--Martha Galland had every comfort and most of the luxuries,
was as sheltered from all the hardships as a hot-house flower.
Then there was Hugo--to go no further afield than the family.
Had he ever done an honest hour's work in his life? Could anyone
have less brains than he? Yet Hugo was rich and respected, was a
director in big corporations, was a member of a first-class law
firm. ``It isn't fair,'' thought the girl. ``I've always felt
it. I see now why. It's a bad system of taking from the many
for the benefit of us few. And it's kept going by a few clever,
strong men like father. They work for themselves and their
families and relatives and for their class--and the rest of the
people have to suffer.''
She did not fall asleep for several hours, such was the tumult in
her aroused brain. The first thing the next morning she went
down town, bought copies of the New Day--for that week and for a
few preceding weeks--and retreated to her favorite nook in her
father's grounds to read and to think--and to plan. She searched
the New Day in vain for any of the wild, wandering things Davy
and her father had told her Victor Dorn was putting forth. The
four pages of each number were given over either to philosophical
articles no more ``anarchistic'' than Emerson's essays, not so
much so as Carlyle's, or to plain accounts of the current
stealing by the politicians of Remsen City, of the squalor and
disease--danger in the tenements, of the outrages by the gas and
water and street car companies. There was much that was
terrible, much that was sad, much that was calculated to make an
honest heart burn with indignation against those who were
cheerily sacrificing the whole community to their desire for
profits and dividends and graft, public and private. But there
was also a great deal of humor--of rather a sardonic kind, but
still seeing the fantastic side of this grand game of swindle.
Two paragraphs made an especial impression on her:
``Remsen City is no worse--and no better--than other American
cities. It's typical. But we who live here needn't worry about
the rest of the country. The thing for us to do is to CLEAN UP
``We are more careful than any paper in this town about verifying
every statement we make, before we make it. If we should publish
a single statement about anyone that was false even in part we
would be suppressed. The judges, the bosses, the owners of the
big blood-sucking public service corporations, the whole ruling
class, are eager to put us out of existence. Don't forget this
fact when you hear the New Day called a lying, demagogical
With the paper beside her on the rustic bench, she fell to
dreaming--not of a brighter and better world, of a wiser and
freer race, but of Victor Dorn, the personality that had unaided
become such a power in Remsen City, the personality that sparkled
and glowed in the interesting pages of the New Day, that made its
sentences read as if they were spoken into your very ears by an
earnest, honest voice issuing from a fascinating, humor-loving,
intensely human and natural person before your very eyes. But it
was not round Victor Dorn's brain that her imagination played.
``After all,'' thought she, ``Napoleon wasn't much over five
feet. Most of the big men have been little men. Of course,
there were Alexander--and Washington-- and Lincoln, but--how
silly to bother about a few inches of height, more or less! And
he wasn't really SHORT. Let me see--how high did he come on Davy
when Davy was standing near him? Above his shoulder --and Davy's
six feet two or three. He's at least as tall as I am--anyhow, in
my ordinary heels.''
She was attracted by both the personalities she discovered in the
little journal. She believed she could tell them apart. About
some of the articles, the shorter ones, she was doubtful. But in
those of any length she could feel that difference which enables
one to distinguish the piano touch of a player in another room--
whether it is male or female. Presently she was searching for an
excuse for scraping acquaintance with this pair of
pariahs--pariahs so far as her world was concerned. And soon she
found it. The New Day was taking subscriptions for a fund to
send sick children and their mothers to the country for a
vacation from the dirt and heat of the tenements--for Remsen
City, proud though it was and boastful of its prosperity, housed
most of its inhabitants in slums--though of course that low sort
of people oughtn't really to be counted--except for purposes of
swelling census figures-- and to do all the rough and dirty work
necessary to keep civilization going.
She would subscribe to this worthy charity--and would take her
subscription, herself. Settled--easily and well settled. She
did not involve herself, or commit herself in any way. Besides,
those who might find out and might think she had overstepped the
bounds would excuse her on the ground that she had not been back
at home long and did not realize what she was doing.
What should she wear?
Her instinct was for an elaborate toilet--a descent in state--or
such state as the extremely limited resources of Martin Hastings'
stables would permit. The traps he had ordered for her had not
yet come; she had been glad to accept David Hull's offer of a
lift the night before. Still, without a carriage or a motor she
could make quite an impression with a Paris walking dress and
hat, properly supported by fashionable accessories of the toilet.
Good sense and good taste forbade these promptings of nature.
No, she would dress most simply--in her very plainest
things--taking care to maintain all her advantages of face and
figure. If she overwhelmed Dorn and Miss Gordon, she would
defeat her own purpose--would not become acquainted with them.
In the end she rejected both courses and decided for the riding
costume. The reason she gave for this decision-- the reason she
gave herself--was that the riding costume would invest the call
with an air of accident, of impulse. The real reason.
It may be that some feminine reader can guess why she chose the
most startling, the most gracefully becoming, the most artlessly
physical apparel in her wardrobe.
She said nothing to her father at lunch about her plans. Why
should she speak of them? He might oppose; also, she might
change her mind. After lunch she set out on her usual ride,
galloping away into the hills--but she had put twenty-five
dollars in bills in her trousers pocket. She rode until she felt
that her color was at its best, and then she made for town--a
swift, direct ride, her heart beating high as if she were upon a
most daring and fateful adventure. And, as a matter of fact,
never in her life had she done anything that so intensely
interested her. She felt that she was for the first time
slackening rein upon those unconventional instincts, of unknown
strength and purpose, which had been making her restless with
their vague stirrings.
``How silly of me!'' she thought. ``I'm doing a commonplace,
rather common thing--and I'm trying to make it seem a daring,
romantic adventure. I MUST be hard up for excitement!''
Toward the middle of the afternoon she dropped from her horse
before the office of the New Day and gave a boy the bridle.
``I'll be back in a minute,'' she explained. It was a two-story
frame building, dingy and in disrepair. On the street floor was
a grocery. Access to the New Day was by a rickety stairway. As
she ascended this, making a great noise on its unsteady boards
with her boots, she began to feel cheap and foolish. She
recalled what Hull had said in the carriage. ``No doubt,''
replied she, ``I'd feel much the same way if I were going to see
Jesus Christ--a carpenter's son, sitting in some hovel, talking
with his friends the fishermen and camel drivers--not to speak of
The New Day occupied two small rooms--an editorial work room, and
a printing work room behind it. Jane Hastings, in the doorway at
the head of the stairs, was seeing all there was to see. In the
editorial room were two tables--kitchen tables, littered with
papers and journals, as was the floor, also. At the table
directly opposite the door no one was sitting-- ``Victor Dorn's
desk,'' Jane decided. At the table by the open window sat a
girl, bent over her writing. Jane saw that the figure was below,
probably much below, the medium height for woman, that it was
slight and strong, that it was clad in a simple, clean gray linen
dress. The girl's black hair, drawn into a plain but distinctly
graceful knot, was of that dense and wavy thickness which is a
characteristic and a beauty of the Hebrew race. The skin at the
nape of her neck, on her hands, on her arms bare to the elbows
was of a beautiful dead-white--the skin that so admirably
compliments dead-black hair.
Before disturbing this busy writer Jane glanced round. There was
nothing to detain her in the view of the busy printing plant in
the room beyond. But on the walls of the room before her were
four pictures --lithographs, cheap, not framed, held in place by
a tack at each corner. There was Washington--then Lincoln--then
a copy of Leonardo's Jesus in the Last Supper fresco--and a
fourth face, bearded, powerful, imperious, yet wonderfully kind
and good humored-- a face she did not know. Pointing her riding
stick at it she said:
``And who is that?''
With a quick but not in the least a startled movement the girl at
the table straightened her form, turned in her chair, saying, as
she did so, without having seen the pointing stick:
``That is Marx--Karl Marx.''
Jane was so astonished by the face she was now seeing--the face
of the girl--that she did not hear the reply. The girl's hair
and skin had reminded her of what Martha had told her about the
Jewish, or half-Jewish, origin of Selma Gordon. Thus, she
assumed that she would see a frankly Jewish face. Instead, the
face looking at her from beneath the wealth of thick black hair,
carelessly parted near the centre, was Russian--was
Cossack--strange and primeval, intense, dark, as superbly alive
as one of those exuberant tropical flowers that seem to cry out
the mad joy of life. Only, those flowers suggest the evanescent,
the flame burning so fiercely that it must soon burn out, while
this Russian girl declared that life was eternal. You could not
think of her as sick, as old, as anything but young and vigorous
and vivid, as full of energy as a healthy baby that kicks its
dresses into rags and wears out the strength of its strapping
nurse. Her nose was as straight as Jane's own particularly fine
example of nose. Her dark gray eyes, beneath long, slender, coal
black lines of brow, were brimming with life and with fun. She
had a wide, frank, scarlet mouth; her teeth were small and sharp
and regular, and of the strong and healthy shade of white. She
had a very small, but a very resolute chin. With another quick,
free movement she stood up. She was indeed small, but formed in
proportion. She seemed out of harmony with her linen dress. She
looked as if she ought to be careening on the steppes in some
romantic, half-savage costume. Jane's first and instant thought
was, ``There's not another like her in the whole world. She's
the only living specimen of her kind.''
``Gracious!'' exclaimed Jane. ``But you ARE healthy.''
The smile took full advantage of the opportunity to broaden into
a laugh. A most flattering expression of frank, childlike
admiration came into the dark gray eyes. ``You're not sickly,
yourself,'' replied Selma. Jane was disappointed that the voice
was not untamed Cossack, but was musically civilized.
``Yes, but I don't flaunt it as you do,'' rejoined Jane. ``You'd
make anyone who was the least bit off, furious.''
Selma, still with the child-like expression, but now one of
curiosity, was examining Jane's masculine riding dress. ``What a
sensible suit!'' she cried, delightedly. ``I'd wear something
like that all the time, if I dared.''
``Dared?'' said Jane. ``You don't look like the frightened
``Not on account of myself,'' explained Selma. ``On account of
the cause. You see, we are fighting for a new idea. So, we have
to be careful not to offend people's prejudices about ideas not
so important. If we went in for everything that's sensible, we'd
be regarded as cranks. One thing at a time.''
Jane's glance shifted to the fourth picture. ``Didn't you say
that was--Karl Marx?''
``He wrote a book on political economy. I tried to read it at
college. But I couldn't. It was too heavy for me. He was a
Socialist--wasn't he?--the founder of Socialism?''
``A great deal more than that,'' replied Selma. ``He was the
most important man for human liberty that ever lived--except
perhaps one.'' And she looked at Leonardo's ``man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief.''
``Marx was a--a Hebrew--wasn't he?''
Selma's eyes danced, and Jane felt that she was laughing at her
hesitation and choice of the softer word. Selma said:
``Yes--he was a Jew. Both were Jews.''
``Both?'' inquired Jane, puzzled.
``Marx and Jesus,'' explained Selma.
Jane was startled. ``So HE was a Jew--wasn't He?''
``And they were both labor leaders--labor agitators. The first
one proclaimed the brotherhood of man. But he regarded this
world as hopeless and called on the weary and heavy laden masses
to look to the next world for the righting of their wrongs.
Then--eighteen centuries after--came that second Jew''--Selma
looked passionate, reverent admiration at the powerful, bearded
face, so masterful, yet so kind--``and he said: `No! not in the
hereafter, but in the here. Here and now, my brothers. Let us
make this world a heaven. Let us redeem ourselves and destroy
the devil of ignorance who is holding us in this hell.' It was
three hundred years before that first Jew began to triumph. It
won't be so long before there are monuments to Marx in clean and
beautiful and free cities all over the earth.''
Jane listened intensely. There was admiring envy in her eyes as
she cried: ``How splendid!--to believe in something--and work
for it and live for it--as you do!''
Selma laughed, with a charming little gesture of the shoulders
and the hands that reminded Jane of her foreign parentage.
``Nothing else seems worth while,'' said she. ``Nothing else is
worth while. There are only two entirely great careers--to be a
teacher of the right kind and work to ease men's minds--as those
four did--or to be a doctor of the right kind and work to make
mankind healthy. All the suffering, all the crime, all the
wickedness, comes from ignorance or bad health--or both. Usually
it's simply bad health.''
Jane felt as if she were devoured of thirst and drinking at a
fresh, sparkling spring. ``I never thought of that before,''
``If you find out all about any criminal, big or little, you'll
discover that he had bad health--poisons in his blood that goaded
Jane nodded. ``Whenever I'm difficult to get on with, I'm always
not quite well.''
``I can see that your disposition is perfect, when you are
well,'' said Selma.
``And yours,'' said Jane.
``Oh, I'm never out of humor,'' said Selma. ``You see, I'm never
sick--not the least bit.''
``You are Miss Gordon, aren't you?''
``Yes--I'm Selma Gordon.''
``My name is Jane Hastings.'' Then as this seemed to convey
nothing to Selma, Jane added: ``I'm not like you. I haven't an
individuality of my own--that anybody knows about. So, I'll have
to identify myself by saying that I'm Martin Hastings'
Jane confidently expected that this announcement would cause some
sort of emotion--perhaps of awe, perhaps of horror, certainly of
interest. She was disappointed. If Selma felt anything she did
not show it--and Jane was of the opinion that it would be well
nigh impossible for so direct and natural a person to conceal.
Jane went on:
``I read in your paper about your fund for sick children. I was
riding past your office--saw the sign --and I've come in to give
what I happen to have about me.'' She drew out the small roll of
bills and handed it to Selma.
The Russian girl--if it is fair thus to characterize one so
intensely American in manner, in accent and in speech--took the
money and said:
``We'll acknowledge it in the paper next week.''
Jane flushed and a thrill of alarm ran through her.